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When: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024; polls open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Find your voting location at myvote.wi. All absentee ballots must be requested by March 28th, 2024 and turned in no later than 8:00 p.m. on April 4th either by mail or dropped off in-person. In-Person absentee voting will start Tuesday, March 19th and end Friday, March 29th. This will take place at City Hall. You can vote Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you plan to vote by mail, voters are strongly encourage to mail their ballots as soon as possible to ensure their ballot is received by the deadline.

What it’s about: There are 45 candidates running for the 29 seats this April. The Eau Claire City Council includes 29 members who each serve a two-year term. The candidates include:


District 28          Sam Owens, Jim Schumacher


Who can vote: The election is open to all eligible voters in the Eau Claire Area School District.

Where you vote and who is on your ballot:

Go to
Enter your voting address to learn which races are on your ballot and where you vote.

Why this questionnaire: The Good Government Council (GGC) is a committee of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce dedicated to encouraging voter participation and providing members of the business community with non-biased information about candidates’ positions on important issues. Although the Chamber is active in policy issues, it is non-partisan and does not endorse political candidates.

Candidate Responses:

1. What are your background and qualifications for this position, and what value will you bring to the County Board personally?

Sam Owens

Having worked in the bar and restaurant scene in Eau Claire for a number of years, including positions on both beer and alcohol distribution and bar management, general management, etc., I feel I would be a strong candidate for this position because of my relentless optimism in regards to small business growth in the area. Management of a bar or restaurant, and beer sales, involve heavily weighing the costs and benefits of every decision. My keen eye for detail and delight in service would no doubt come in handy in the position, as I believe the act of service has been one of the joys of my adult life.

2. What should the County’s role be in responding to the healthcare crisis created by the HSHS and Prevea closings?

Sam Owens

We need to be aggressive in our approach to solutions and potential buyers of HSHS and we need to remember that as the largest metropolitan area in our region, it is vital that we have access to healthcare, not only for our own community but the communities that are not as advantaged as us in terms of size and overall economy. I would hope that we hear solutions quickly and efficiently, and make a decision that balances the needs of everyone in our city and county.

3. What is the County Board’s role in promoting economic development, business maintenance and commercial growth in the county?

Sam Owens

For years, I've felt that Eau Claire County has been held back. Whether it's by archaic zoning laws, refusal to bring in new large scale employers, or a general intolerance toward small businesses. We need to seriously rebalance our priorities if we are going to get through the next few years, and we need to unleash the economic beast I believe we can become. As for what the County Board's role is, it is not to interrupt the dreams of the people that are working hard for their families to provide a better life.

4. How and on which issues and services should Eau Claire County work more collaboratively with the municipalities in its jurisdiction?

Sam Owens

The best thing that's happened in Eau Claire County in recent memory was the River Prairie Development. I've said it before and I'll say it again, taking what was essentially useless swamp land and turning it into a beautiful and wonderful business hub, with parks for small children, ice cream shops, bars and restaurants, housing, and shopping, is about the most amazing thing that's happened in a long time. If it were up to me, the same philosophy would be applied throughout the county, in places that are relevant to that type of overhaul development, of course. I would want to work hard to redevelop blighted areas in a way that makes sense, modeled after River Prairie.

5. What should the County’s role be through its DHS department in working with the City of Eau Claire and other municipalities on issues related to mental health and the unhoused population?

Sam Owens

It's a tough question, because on the one hand I don't want to see anyone locked up for being mentally unwell or unhoused, but on the other I want our streets to feel safe for business owners, their workers, and their customers. Especially in the Downtown area, it's apparent that something needs to be done. In talking to owners of businesses downtown, I've found that no-one is really on the same page about what the solution is. I don't want to be hostile toward people that don't choose that lifestyle, because we're all just one or two bad days from something like that happening. It's not as cut and dry as, "We have to let them do as they will," and, "We have to use the full strength of the law against them." I would hope that the issue naturally solves itself as more opportunities for low-skill jobs open up or that housing becomes less absurdly overpriced. All I know is that we have beautiful parks and public places that we ought to maintain for our children and residents to enjoy.

Posted by Mallory Williams Governmental Affairs Intern

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